Peter Frampton Forgets The Words

This album is ASTOUNDING! This is the kind of album Jeff Beck used to make before he insisted on originals and stopped making albums on a regular basis. Yes, there are moments when Frampton uses the guitar sans effects so it almost sounds like a vocal, like Beck did on “Blow by Blow,” yet despite getting some press this album is dead in the water, welcome to 2021 when you can make it, you can even get some publicity, but that does not mean that anybody will listen to it, even hear about it, even if they are fans! Really, if you’re a rock fan, if you’re a fan of these songs you should check it out, especially in a world where the barrier to entry is so low, it’s not like you have to lay down fifteen bucks in a blind effort, just pull it up on your streaming service of choice, I know you subscribe to one.

I started with “Isn’t It a Pity. Frampton played on “All Things Must Pass,” people aren’t quite sure whether he played the acoustic on the released version of this song, but he’s got history and you can feel it in the grooves (the bits, don’t get technical on me.)

And Frampton’s “Isn’t It a Pity” is dreamy, but its pace is slow, so I got it and switched tracks when in truth if you listen all the way through the guitar sound expands and…

The opening cut is “If You Want Me to Stay,” you know the Sly Stone classic, which no one talks about but if you’ve ever heard it you’ve never forgotten it. And listening here you get right into the groove immediately, it feels so good, and sans vocal both this and “Isn’t It a Pity” become unique, something different, taking nothing from the originals but inspiration.

Then there’s “Avalon,” the title track from Roxy Music’s classic. A song you know by heart but have never heard on the radio, you own this album don’t you, do younger generations own “Avalon”? The intro guitar is unique and appealing, so right yet different from the original. And as the track evolves, it’s not rote, this album is not just an exercise, it’s something more, from back when albums were not every three or four year marketing extravaganzas, when they were made by musicians, and that’s what they were back in the sixties, musicians. And unfortunately Peter Frampton ultimately became a teen idol, but that did not affect his ability to play.

But the revelation here, the reason I’m writing this, is Frampton’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s classic “I Don’t Know Why,” the b-side of the single “My Cherie Amour,” plowed under in history as a result of Stevie’s “Music of My Mind” to “Songs in the Key of Life” tour-de-force. Yes, prior to the seventies Stevie Wonder made classic music, and here Frampton gets the funk just right, you cannot listen without nodding your head.

Now on Spotify no track on “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words” has a million streams. As a matter of fact, only one cut has over two hundred thousand streams, Peter’s take on Radiohead’s “Reckoner.” Six of the ten tracks don’t even have a hundred thousand streams, indicating almost no one has heard it.

But you should.

If this were still the sixties, people would know about this album, one of your friends would buy it and you’d go over to their house after school and they’d be playing it on a fall day and it would feel just right and you’d have to own it too.

Everybody’s all caught up in the new and different, trying to impress their friends with their hipness and what they know. But that’s not what Frampton is delivering here, no one is going to foam at the mouth thinking about it, but if you listen to it, you’ll be stunned. This is the music you know, but it’s not old, as a matter of fact it’s positively alive and breathing, and in some cases kicking.

Word of mouth on this stuff starts slowly. And it hasn’t started yet. But once you hear the album, you’ll be talking about it, because you’ll keep playing it, for the mood it puts you in, because it’s not an assault but a companion without being background noise. “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words” could be the sleeper of the year, an award-winner as time goes by. But who cares about trophies, we’re all just individuals. I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, which is conventionally lazy, Sunday even more so… Immediately pull up “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words,” you’ll be stunned that it feels so right, that it’s what you’re looking for, even though you weren’t even looking.

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